"Growing Up With Daniel Island" by Nicole Cooper

May 26, 2010

In 1999, when I was seven years old, I found myself in Charleston, South Carolina on Daniel Island as a result of Dad’s job and a “new opportunity”. “A new town. An island. A new way of life.” Now, ten years later, Daniel Island is not what it used to be; it now has its own exit ramp off of I-526, a real grocery store, and streetlights but I love it just the same.

little nicole cooper

When I first moved to Daniel Island, I lived at 182 Brady Street in a cute little yellow house we rented while we were building on Beresford Creek. Our house was the last one on the street; the development of Cochran Park and Bounty Street had not even begun. We lived where the sidewalk ended, with a vast plot of dirt being our only neighbors to the right. But our neighbors to the left made up for the lack of neighbors on the right. I remember almost every weekend having block parties and cookouts.

After a year, houses began to start going up in Cochran Park and our house on Beresford Creek was finally built. There still wasn’t much to Daniel Island. Life was simple and that’s what made it so much fun. Boat storage was in the field next to Bishop England. The church with the green roof, as I used to call it, was the last thing on Seven Farms Drive. There weren’t any stoplights and there wasn’t a need for them. Tecklenburg’s was the closest thing to a grocery store we had. If you asked them nicely, they would be sure to stock your favorite brand of cereal for you so you wouldn’t have to leave the island when you ran out. Getting to ride my bike all the way there was a very special privilege, and I would get a fabulous strawberry milkshake on rare occasions.

nicole and sister

On Daniel Island, biking has always been the best form of transportation. My friends and I used to meet up every day after school to embark on some new adventure. Bellinger Island was always a favorite destination of ours, and I still love going there. It’s one of the few places on Daniel Island that hasn’t changed at all over the years.

Our bicycles took us all over this island. We would go “park-hopping” between Etiwan Park and the park on Shipwright Street. I remember clearly when Center Park was first built; it was an instant favorite, and in my friend’s opinions and mine, it put all of the other parks to shame. We spent countless hours at that park. Now there are more parks than I can name, with the pirate and “spinny” park being favorites of the new generation. But in my eyes, they all pale in comparison with Center Park. It’s the best; always has been always will be.

When I was in 7th grade we sold the house on the creek and moved to Blakeway Street, right behind Bishop England. In the springtime, you can hear the crack of the bat coming from the baseball fields and see people and their dogs frolicking along the bike path, occasionally stopping at the exercise station.

nicole senior

In the ten years I’ve lived on Daniel Island, it has grown almost, if not more, than I have. I have lived in three different parts of the island and loved each one. Despite all of the changes and growth, one aspect of Daniel Island has remained constant – the sense of community.

Everyone knows everyone, and people still sit on their porches and talk to their neighbors as they pass by. I’ve grown up right along with Daniel Island, and am going to miss it next year when I’m away at school but I know that no matter how much we both continue to grow or where I end up, Daniel Island will always be one thing…home.